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Study: Majority of Women Compare Private Label to Brand Name Products When Shopping

Posted: October 26, 2012

Although 77% of general shoppers compare store brands to brand names, a recent shopper behavior survey has revealed that 90% of women compare both regularly.

The Checkout, an ongoing shopper behavior study conducted by The Integer Group and M/A/R/C Research, says certain categories appear to be immune to the store-brand swap.

"Categories that offer shoppers frequent innovations such as performance or variety, and categories where personal stakes are higher, are more difficult areas for private label products to compete," according to Craig Elston, senior vice president, IntegerTM. 

When it comes to quality perception, brand names have maintained a slight advantage over private labels. Certain demographics (76% percent of African-American shoppers compared to 69% of shoppers in general) say laundry detergent is a category in which brand name is very important to them. Health and beauty is also a category where shoppers prefer a brand name to a private label, with 74% of Hispanic shoppers and 65% of general shoppers stating this. The prevailing factor is trust, with 51% of shoppers indicating that they continue to buy brand name products over store-brand alternatives because they trust the brand.

With fewer shoppers purchasing private-label from two years ago, retailers are working hard to build brand identities and nicer packaging for their private labels. This is blurring the perceived lines of quality, and based on this survey, shoppers are taking notice. The survey revealed a 14% decrease since 2010 in the number of shoppers who think brand-name packaging is more attractive than private-label packaging.

Categories with little innovation or new product introductions tend to be easier for private label brands to compete. For example, 68% of shoppers prefer private label brands in the over-the-counter medicine category.

As less innovation makes it easier for private labels to imitate brand names in this category, retailers are taking advantage of printing "compare to" lines on their packaging and noting the brand name for comparison. Data for The Checkout comes from a national survey conducted by Integer and M/A/R/C where consumers are asked about their shopping attitudes, shopping behaviors, and economic outlook. It is available for download at Integer's blog: www.shopperculture.com.